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Effect of Domestic Violence on Child Behaviour and Self-concept

Info: 7025 words (28 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Nov 2021

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Tagged: ChildcarePsychology


Domestic violence affects all who are exposed to it; both victims and perpetrators. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the effect of domestic violence on children. The main questions explored were the effects of domestic violence on the behaviour and self-concept of children. This systematic assessment considered previous research which studied the practises of children who experienced domestic violence and it’s impacts on their behaviours and development. This analysis was designed to explore the question: What is the impact of domestic violence on children? And analysis revealed three interconnected themes from these articles:

1) Impact on Behavioural Systems;

2) Emotional Dysregulation and Cognitive Systems behaviours;

3) Multi-generational Effect.

The findings show that children’s exposure to domestic violence is enormously predominant and those children are considered at a risk for problems in general development. The findings also emphasised the importance of recognising the impacts of domestic violence. Treatment proposals were presented, along with recommendations for future policy amendment and moving forward, more studies and research is required on psychological treatment interventions for children who have lived in violent homes.


Hester (2007) defined domestic violence as “the systematic pattern of abusive behaviours in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain control and power over another person”. This abuse includes physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial, child protection studies have provided probably the largest body of research in the UK to indicate that domestic violence is an important feature in the background of children who have been subject to abuse or are at risk of harm. From child protection studies it is apparent that domestic violence is often a significant and consistent feature, regardless of the form of abuse, which are physical, sexual and emotional, a child is deemed to have suffered. Whilst this study does not set out to examine domestic violence primarily, the resulting research and analysis indicates that in instances of child abuse, a high proportion (between 1/5 and 2/3) of children Globally are living in circumstances of domestic violence. According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (2016) it is suggested that more than 600 000 children in the UK are affected by domestic violence. The impact of domestic violence on children who witness these events can be devastating and puts children at a greater risk of being abused themselves (Devaney, 2018).

During the 1970s, a small number of child protection-oriented studies in the UK began to examine the effect on children of domestic violence. Hester (2007) provided one of the more detailed studies linking child protection work and domestic violence. In their study of the outcomes for children of child protection practice, they found that domestic violence, mainly involving violence from the male to the female partner, was a feature across the full range of households and categories of abuse including physical, sexual, emotional and neglect (Hester, 2007). In cases of child sexual abuse, they found that some form of family violence had been evident at the time of the abuse in two-fifths of the cases (Hester, 2007).

As a result of this, evidence shows that children are facing adjournments in cognitive and emotional change, aggressiveness or extreme withdrawal, as well as internalising and externalising behaviour problems (Hester, 2007). This research considered the previous research which appear at the experiences of children who are affected by domestic violence and the impact on their behaviours, progress and adjustments. The aim of this methodical analysis was to summarise contemporary research, highlight important challenges in the research, and to deliver recommendations for more research.

Background Literature

This literature review aims to explore the domestic violence and its current and future emotional, psychological and physical impact. It is a worldwide epidemic, and affects many people, regardless of, race, gender, and class (Harne and Radford, 2008). It is vital to recognise the complications of domestic violence in order to be effective in understanding the systems that are also affected by such type of violence.

Child witnessing Domestic violence

Darlington (2009) argue that supervising the encounters of children who are in the families of involved in domestic violence, might be simple. The abused children look to be doing well; the parents trying their best to protect their children from violent events. Yet the effect of witnessing the events is harmful. According to Meltzer, Doos, Vostanis, Chalk, & King, (1998) impacting by domestic violence does not necessarily mean that the child is in observable range of the violence; a lot of children can describe traumatic events that they have heard but may have not seen (Chalk and King, 1998). Research has showed that the psychosocial consequences of children exposed to domestic violence had potentially worse consequences compared to those who were not exposed to any types of domestic violence (Darlington, 2009). The negative outcomes of witnessing domestic violence can differ for each individual and can have cumulative impacts on children. These effects can begin at conception and carry on throughout adulthood depending on the seriousness of the abuse (Darlington, 2009).

Domestic violence and its impact on Child Development

Emotional and social development is what affects individuals mind and behavioural regulations, such as mental activities, and intellectual skills. Physiological and physical growth affects our body: sexual orientation, aging and structural differences in the brain or body, (Darlington, 2009). The impact on the emotional, physiological, social and physical development of child witnesses of domestic violence are currently under examination and research illustrates that the outcome even can begin even before the child birth due to the suffering of the mother because of experiences of violent abuse (Iwaniec, 2006). This has serious consequences for the treatment of both victims and perpetrators, one of them being that incidents of abuse should be recorded and made reference to, especially when dealing with families where this has been known to happen in the past.

According to Cleaver (2012) studies consistently identified that, children who experienced ill-treatment from their guardian were more likely to have negative emotional and behavioural consequences than other kinds of childhood experiences: annoyance, fearfulness, hyper arousal and aggression toward peers were the most common symptoms. Since children often look to their caretaker for basic needs such as safeguarding and modelling for self-regulation. The bond between a caregiver and a child is meant to be been based on nurturing. Domestic violence breaks these positive features and harms the relationship between caregiver and child, making it clear that a non-belligerent environment is crucial for positive development. Further to this, research shows that young witnesses of domestic violence are more likely to experience health problems, as well as a wide range of psychological and social disorders: depression, anxiety, and aggressiveness, low tolerance, antisocial behaviours, fear of being alone, sleep problems, eating disorders, passivity, immaturity and poor concentration (Cleaver, 2012). Infants tend to also have feeding and sleeping problems, which can potentially lead to poor mental and physical development in the future (Cleaver, 2012)

It is significant to realise the coping skills children showed with so there is an understanding of the mixed practises that children face and how these connected to their welfare. Skinner (2016) emphasised that, there is a distinction in coping methods used by children: emotion-focused or problem-focused. Emotion focused means acting in a way to change the level of stress or trying to manage the emotional distress related with the violence such as anxiety, fear and sadness. Problem focused focuses on attempting to solve the problem. Accordingly, when the safety net of the controlled and consistent care giving is taken away the damage done to the child does not stop when the child reaches adulthood. The long-term effects are powerful and far reaching (Skinner, 2016).

Impact on Parent-Child Attachment

According to Ainsworth et al. (2014) the attachment theory, in the parent child relationship, the parent’s duty is to deliver protection. Whenever parents are impotent to protect themselves, this affects the parent-child relationship, and tensions the attachment. Ainsworth et al. (2014) states that domestic violence harms a child’s emotional attachments from an early age, which go on to affect the child’s capabilities throughout their lives to negotiate their future relationship, but especially their intimate relationships; where fear and suspicion can influence their behaviour, it can lead to violence and aggression (Ainsworth et al. 2014).

According to Braeutigam, Lee and Senior (2015) there are differences between the attachment and parenting styles of safe mothers in secure relationships and those in non-secure relationships. Children who experience unattached care giving or abusive parenting are highly likely to develop negative attitude to their caregiver; the lack of parenthood attachment and abusive atmosphere at home can cause negative reactions in and of themselves (Braeutigam, Lee and Senior, 2015). There has been a substantiated correlation, via social learning theory, between children that have been exposed to domestic violence and those that go on to abuse their own families and partners in their future relationships. It must be noted, however, that not all of these children will go on to repeat the violence they have witnessed (Braeutigam, Lee and Senior, 2015). Barnett, Miller-Perrin and Perrin (2011) argue that witnessing domestic violence as a boy can correlate to men as perpetrators of domestic violence; whilst many, but not all, female sufferers of domestic violence come from families where they witnessed domestic violence between their parents. Learning theory showed that boys learn how to become perpetrators and girls learn about victimisation (Barnett, Miller-Perrin and Perrin, 2011).

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory looks at the importance of the developing brain on behaviours and emotions throughout the lifetime of a person (Cleaver, 2012). John Bowlby’s contributions are rooted in psychodynamic thought, and include his works in attachment (1969), separation (1973), and loss (1980) (Green, 2004). “Bowlby highlighted the fact that attachment behaviour is regarded as a class of social behaviour of an importance equivalent to that of mating behaviour and parental behaviour” (Green, 2004).

Further research by Cleaver (2012) showed that parental attachment happens by the beginning of the second year for almost for all children, and the detachment can lead to signs of major developmental difficulties. Attachment theory offers a useful lens to boost the understanding of domestic violence and the effect it has on the development of children. It enables us to understand the significance of the attachment and relationship, and the problem that a troubled attachment can have on the relationship. In addition, attachment theory provides a secure understanding of the duty of caretaker and relationship with the child.

Social Learning Theory

Social Learning Theory is the application of the individual learning and of behavioural thought that looks at both the outward and inward thought processes (Hutchison, 2018). We see the implication of communication and modelling for children and their developmental progress through social learning theory. Through considerable study and research, it was determined that children usually will model the behaviours of others around them. The well-known Albert Bandura’s 1961 Bobo doll experiment at the Stanford University Nursery School showed how nursery children, who had been exposed to aggressive behaviour, exhibited nearly twice as much aggression than the other group who were not watching an adult model act aggressively towards a Bobo doll (Green, 2004). The study, showed the importance of what children witness and its social contribution into their world.


A systematic search of two electronic databases Wolverhampton library catalogue and Google books was used to search for relevant articles related to the impact of domestic violence on children conducted between 3rd February 2018 and 30th May 2018 to identify peer reviewed articles for this review. Using the key words “domestic violence and its impact on children”, “child witnessing on domestic violence” and “domestic violence”, it is an organised method of finding, assembling, and assessing a body of literature on a specific topic using a set of specific criteria. The titles and abstracts of studies were examined against criteria in (Appendix 1 Table 1). ten met the inclusion and exclusion criteria outlined in Table 1. illustrates this process.

Items researched included books, e-books and articles, online journals and review articles, used to develop a broader understanding and depth of knowledge surrounding the topic. This review is limited to studies and subject to this appraisal and rated on the series of criteria described by Bryman and Buchanan (2011) to understand the extent of available literature around the research question, a search for both specificity and sensitivity was conducted (Bryman and Buchanan, 2011).

It is noticeable to see that the main studies were thought to be of good in this review. By contrast to reasonable quality, good quality studies tend to include regression studies to results attained in the link analysis. Poor-quality study lacks a detailed and comprehensive picture of the data analysis. A specificity search runs the risk of lacking appropriate articles because of the limited nature of the search terms.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The titles and abstracts of studies were examined and compared to criteria in Table 1. The search was enlarged by a recurrent review of the references of main articles published between 1998 and 2018. The focal point of this research comprised of the past twenty years to guarantee that the research outcomes were up-to-date, relating to the existing theories and methods for working with children who are impacted by domestic abuse: keyword searches of databases found at University of Wolverhampton were applied. These databases were chosen because of the significance to the topic research question. The total number of results and additional papers found from reference sections of the papers found in the search, twelve, met the inclusion and exclusion criteria outlined in Table 1 exemplifies this process. Articles were excluded that focused primarily on children who experienced physical abuse and excluded those where study was outside of United Kingdom.

Data Analysis

After meeting the inclusion criteria, the articles were organised into groups by common themes. Each article was reviewed to classify the important data including themes and subthemes. The articles were then linked and compared in relation to each other, then organised to establish correlations and differences and overarching themes. From this synthesis, the commonalities and differences between the articles were examined. Upon an initial systematic review, the following themes were found: emotional, physiological, physical, social, caregiver and child relationships, development, impact on future relationships, ability to cope, multi-level perspective deregulation in emotional and cognitive, internalising and externalising behaviours; they were then related to the primary research.


After thorough research, 9 articles were considered suitable according to the criteria for inclusion in this study (Table 1). Analysis discovered three interconnected themes developed from these articles. These themes centred on the impact of domestic violence on children: firstly, impact on behavioural systems: internalising behaviours and externalising behaviours, secondly, dysregulation in emotional and cognitive systems, finally, multi-generational effect.

According to The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) (2011) Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. But it is not just physical violence, domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial and psychological abuse. It is known that abusive behaviour can occur in any relationship, it can continue even after the relationship has ended, and both men and women can be abused or abuser.

Domestic abuse can extremely hurt children and adult indeed, domestic abuse is affecting children of all ages. According to Cleaver and Unell (2011) there are differing views on the explanation of domestic violence, which includes abusive behaviours in the home directed towards any persons, and an act carried out with intention, or perceived intentions, of causing psychological pain or physical injury (Yeager and Roberts, 2015). For the purpose of this research, domestic violence will be considered as the use of power and control by an intimate partner with the intention of being coercive or abuse.

Impact on Behavioural Systems

According to Hollin (2016) it was evident in the research that witnessing domestic violence played a significant role in a child’s behavioural functioning and found that family violence was a main social issue for those who are witnesses to violence and those who are psychologically and physically abused. The author argued that the consequences on the development of children’s behaviours, and the likely effects, would create enduring intergenerational cycles of abuse without early intervention. The behaviours noted were hyper arousal, aggressiveness, anti-social behaviours, inhibited behaviours, avoidant behaviours, fearfulness, and developmental relapse in children who had been experiencing domestic violence contrasted with children who had not (Hollin, 2016). In fact, the impact of vulnerability to domestic violence can differ from child to child.

In a systematic review by Jenny (2011) it was found that children experiencing domestic violence exhibit higher internalising and externalising behaviours than children who are not exposed to domestic violence. Even though, some children are able to succeed academically and regard school as the zone where they are able to control variables of the day. Other students struggled in their studies, with concentration for example, and had difficulties making friends, which could be the results of their trauma. A further behaviour was extreme tiredness due to the impact of stress on the children (Jenny, 2011).

During adolescence the potential for a repetition of patterns of abuse occurred in dating. It is here where young people replicated both the roles of abusers and abused, perpetrators and victims, and started to create cyclical behaviours and attitudes that were difficult to break. The difficulty for the young adult in this situation is complex; control issues prevent them from regarding their situation as dangerous or needing to be challenged; passivity and, even what could be described as being worse, denial by the victims and abusers that anything is indeed wrong with these imbalanced and often volatile relationships (Ainsworth et al. 2014).

Cleaver (2012) argues that, common features of abusing individuals are a tendency toward intense anxiety with outbursts of violent anger, impulsive actions, a lack of trust and an inability to develop close relationships. Abusing parents are looking for their children to parent them and when the child fails because he/she wants to be parented, the parent reacts angrily. The same pattern of setback habitually occurs with children from homes where there is a violent relationship between the adults. Those children who grew up in homes and witnessed DV are at higher risk level of developing beliefs that accept violence as a form of conflict resolution.

The NSPCC (Radford, 2011) conducted a large study on the incidence of child maltreatment in the UK, updating its own research from 2000. The study is based on interviews with a nationally representative sample of three groups of children and young people: 18 to 24-year-olds (1,761 in total) and 11 to 17-year-olds (2,275 total) who responded to the survey directly, while 2,160 primary caregivers responded on behalf of children under 11 years of age. Radford found the following rates among the 4,036 children and young people included in the survey.

These figures are similar to those produced by the NSPCC in 2009, which found that 25% of girls and 18% of boys had experienced some form of domestic violence at least once in their childhood. The authors found that early exposure for the boys had a greater impact in their externalising behaviours; for girls it resulted in developing a wider range of negative behavioural responses.

According to Cleaver (2012) Both internalising and externalising behaviours are influenced by attachment. Being exposed to domestic violence can potentially lead students to be over-protective and manifest awkward behaviours, which both might bring difficulties in a child’s relationships with others; this maladaptive approach could be the cause of bullying (Hollin 2016). In a research by Campbell et al. (2016), the authors examined previous study and insisted that early identification and offering the appropriate help for young people could highlight paths for resiliency and significantly reduce the risk for trauma, potentially reducing long term effect of exposure to domestic violence.

Emotional Dysregulation and Cognitive Systems

Emotional dysregulation can be defined as difficulty in maintaining standardised and cognitive functioning, such as prioritising, organising, and completing routine tasks. In terms of emotional functioning, the dysregulation could be seen as struggling in maintaining normative relationships (Robinson, Watkins and Harmon-Jones, 2013). Research showed that children of all ages group had problems in relationships, and the attachment ties that were weak from early infant stages, played a role in maladaptive dating and friendship relationships in school, ending up in isolation (Robinson, Watkins and Harmon-Jones, 2013). Children who experienced suffering through exposure to domestic violence showed higher rates of emotional, psychological and cognitive challenges. A large number of the articles confirmed that children who were affected by domestic abuse had lower levels of social aptitude when compared to their peers. It was clear that exposure to domestic violence placed an excessive burden on children through early years development. The result of this was signs of anxiety, depression, irregular eating patterns, and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. But, it is vital to reflect that some of the children showed a resilient response and did not manifest significant negative effects in their emotional and psychological welfare.

Robinson, Watkins and Harmon-Jones (2013) emphasised that the consequences of domestic violence on children generally needed to be recognised by social workers and other professionals. These authors determined that early exposure alone did not necessarily impact children negatively, though an increase in mother’s DV victimisation and prolonged exposure to violence did have problematic outcomes for children.

Multi-generational Effect

Multi-generational effect theory was predominant among the research. Out of those theories, frameworks for therapy were attached and interventions were suggested. Shute and Slee (2015) deliberated on Urie Broffenbrenner’s bio-ecological theory of humanoid growth (1979, 1996). They debated how Bronfenbrenner’s theory defined how the children’s systems affected their development, which the authors went on to discuss, being, as it was different from the previous study of two-person-model. The two-person-model can be defined as the child and their guardian, mainly the mother. When there is conflict for the mother or guardian, this affects the child’s behaviours and progress. Shute and Slee (2015) also elicited how Brofenbrenner emphasised the significance of the parental involvement in influencing their children’s behaviour and development.

Additional articles assessed the eco bio developmental perspective and were used to understand how violence could have a dominant impact on a traumatised child’s growth. The context considered was the families’ values and cultural beliefs, child’s characteristics, family situations and surrounding community settings. The structure is helpful to understand the effects of domestic violence on children, and how children will respond based on their neurological progress. Wasserman and Zambo (2013) argued that this structure can be helpful as it explains how unsettled stress has toxic effects on child development. The research using this structure revealed that ongoing research is needed in neuroscience, as much of this research is preliminary and not conclusive.


Studies have shown that children’s exposure to Domestic violence (DV) is prevalent. These children have been considered at a higher risk for problems in developmental adjustment. According to Cleaver and Unell (2011) the exposure to DV has lead to health problems in the United Kingdom. According to NSPCC (2017) reports, children affected by domestic abuse have soared by 77 per cent in 4 years; 7 per cent of all calls were made in relation to domestic abuse in 2016, with some 85 per cent so serious that they were referred on to other agencies, such as the police or social services. Higher proportions were being referred to these services than four years ago. According to the NSPCC (2017) in the United Kingdom, it is estimated that 1 in 5 children have been exposed and witnesses to DV per year, and worldwide more than 275 million children are exposed on a yearly basis (Cleaver and Unell 2011).

The concept of exposure to domestic violence

The acknowledgement that domestic violence could be a direct or indirect form of child abuse, and that it could have appalling consequences on children’s health and overall wellbeing, has highlighted the way to increase the frequency of research and publications on the subject. Murray and Graves (2013) drawing on long-term study, elaborated that uncertainty over the terminology and definition of the topics that are linked to children’s exposure to domestic violence has not been effectively addressed. In order to widen the understanding of scale and manifestation of the challenge, terms such as “witnessing domestic violence” by children have been replaced with the term “exposure to domestic violence”. In general, the term “exposure” means being in the state of having no protection within sight or sound of amongst adult domestic violence. However, in comprehensive terms, the exposure comprises of children being used as tools of the perpetrator and undergoing the outcome of violence (Murray and Graves 2013).

Crosson-Tower (2013) argued that the nature of the exposure needs to be examined broadly in order to be able to deepen the knowledge and understanding of perspective into the experience of children who undergo the effects of domestic violence. Nevertheless, it is beyond the scope of this dissertation to exhaustively explore Holden’s reflections on terminology of perception of the nature of children’s exposure to domestic violence, whilst it is important to remark some of the different types of exposure Crosson-Tower (2013) has proposed. One of the most significant types was that throughout parental disputes and violent acts, children could be involved with verbal or physical attempts to stop the fight. In some cases, children might have been forced or willingly join in. In addition, children witness what could be the outcome of a highly traumatic event:  a crying or bleeding mother. Another possibility is children only overhear the assault but do not get involved.

The researches revealed an indisputable impact on children’s social, cognitive and behavioural development and support a link between exhibiting domestic violence and the development of children. Additionally, research of this data showed the significance of critically evaluating the impact that facing violence has on the child and their development when applying early interventions and considering amending or changing the current policy.

A range of different and appropriate interventions for these children is important and necessary. A study by Yeager and Roberts (2015) showed that family customs involving day-to-day domestic rules, uniformity in disciplining child misconduct and having known consequences would be supportive interferences for families. This study went on to discuss how consistent practises helped children regulate themselves in school readiness. In addition, it would be essential to advance a strong understanding of the effects on children who are being exposed to domestic violence, alongside those working in the school and community settings who would need to be mindfulof the urgency to design strategy and implement interventions to assist abused children. Yeager and Roberts (2015) found that maintaining helpful partnerships with parents was crucial for teachers and responsible professionals to work with parents. It was and is vital that school and other key workers have a comprehensive understanding, skills, knowledge and organisation in order to help children who are the victims of domestic violence.

The evidence of dysregulation in children continues to be shown in the research. This dysregulation is impacting children at home, school, in the community and in relationships. All involved must display an alertness and willingness to intervene if this is to be tackled successfully. A confident and positive attachment has proved to be prevalent in the context of life in home, community and any type of social interaction. Having negative attachments in any of these systems has been proved through internalising and externalising behaviours that the long-term potential for resolution is highly unlikely for the victims and abusers (Robinson, Watkins and Harmon-Jones, 2013).

A key therapy in the sphere of abused child is ‘The Associations of Directors of Children’s Services’ (ADCS) with the co-operation of ‘National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’ (NICE) therapy, which can be defined as a systematic theory applied with an interpersonal process to help victims of domestic violence resolve difficulties and achieve growth and progress (NICE, 2017). ADCS is based in theory, which if applied rationally and judiciously can prove successful as it is based on cognitive principles. Researchers in this field showed that children in situations of dysregulation responded positively to the narrative of play by therapists without fear of judgement or censorship. However, more research needs to be done in order to achieve better results on both children of all ages and adults.


It is known that the number of child victims in domestic violence rise every year, and the increase is alarming because of the relationship between experiencing violence and its negatives outcomes. It is vital that social workers involved in this type of work recognise the connection between exposure to violence, outcomes and interventions. Recent study suggests that consistent and positive discipline can be a highly beneficial intervention (Cleaver and Unell, 2011).

This could help both at home and in school environment. In addition, to provide effective strategies and interventions for the wellbeing of students the unity and cooperation of teachers and practitioners is crucial. More research in endorsing psychological healing would be necessary to advance the rate of recovery for the child victims of domestic abuse.

Forthcoming research is necessary to consider the children’s ability to report, and the parents’ ability to be aware of the violent events their child has witnessed; parents may be underestimating or unaware the range and capacities of violent events they are reporting. In large parts of the research, there is an awareness concerning the privacy of domestic violence and potential humiliation that can be associated with it. If public scrutiny, the shame, self-hate and self-blame ceased, the nation could be making a greater effort to end domestic violence and its impact on both perpetrators and victims.

Understanding the parts of culture and beliefs that contribute to domestic violence is vital in order to reduce the role of negative cultural ideologies. (Harne and Radford, 2008). Harne and Radford (2008) contend that the importance of cultural considerations has a vital place in further research if progress is to be made. Harne and Radford (2008) put forward ideas for preparing a multicultural assessment, as well as exploring the significance of being out of one’s own cultural setting in any assessment of how to tackle this issue (Harne and Radford, 2008). Furthermore, the importance of understanding culture and profound influence that it might have is crucial to understanding some of the specificities of abuse. In this way, the impact of trauma can affect the victim in many ways, including his/her self-esteem and relationships. Trauma can cause guilt and shame, which in some beliefs and cultures could be acceptable. In many cases bringing the case to light and the matters would be considered inappropriate and an unthinkable challenge to cultural core values. (Harne and Radford, 2008). Culture has great influence the extent that a person feels comfortable seeking mental health services, speaking to someone about their case, and can lead to mistrust or stigmatisation of the service (Harne and Radford, 2008).

A very important feature of this work is to consider when working with victims is to recognise the possible cultural conflicts. It is necessary to reference victim’s choices on how to progress in line with their specific set of cultural circumstances (Harne and Radford, 2008). Once the support worker has built trust and established the relationship with the victim and their family, it will be vital to regulate, identify and advance culturally competent interventions which would be appropriate (Harne and Radford, 2008). Significantly though, government law bans any cultural practices that promote domestic violence and protects abusers. In this way, the law is able to uphold the rights of all who face domestic violence and work to ensure that victims and abusers are assisted. Furthermore, it is essential to examine existing policy with regarded domestic violence and its impact on children in order to endorse further research on the connection between child protective services and domestic abuse. In addition, it is very important to make sure that the child victims of domestic are treated and cared for appropriately (Davies and Ward, 2012).  


Domestic violence continues to be a challenge among families and for society as a whole. It is clear that exposure to violence places a great strain on children throughout childhood irrespective of their socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. It is possible for families exposed to domestic violence to overcome the issue (Cleaver and Unell, 2011).

However, and regrettably, the impact of family violence is likely to yield longterm or lifelong intergenerational cycles of abuse if not tackled and treated at its earliest stages. Breaking the cycle of violence will demand determination and hard work for the family, community and all professionals involved in the care of families. In many ways the complex nature of maltreated children’s traumas and experiences requires greater consideration due the need for direct and positive action in an atmosphere of greater awareness of the resulting problems.

The response of the community, governmental and non-governmental organisations has an enormous impact on how the victim of abuse deals with the problem. Negative attitudes can result in leaving the victim with no option but to be silent and being exposed for re-victimisation, experiencing all the appertaining feelings of guilt and shame. Since it is very often children who are repeatedly affected by domestic violence, they often remain in the situation and be traumatically and repeatedly victimised.

By assuring early intervention, it is possible to break up the cycle of violence and ensure safeguarding for children from being exposed to the epidemic of violence. Ultimately, we need to create a social atmosphere where breaking the silence on domestic violence is the order of the day and by exposing this malady in society in order to bring about positive change for the future.


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